Family of choice and solo polyamory: Why it rocks, in times of need

3

June 23, 2014 by aggiesez

I’m heading out for a week to help my family of origin weather a sudden, painful loss. Part of preparing myself to offer lots of emotional support is to make sure I have lots of support.

So yesterday I reached out to a couple dozen close friends who I trust to be understanding and supportive. This includes my current lover, former spouse, two former lovers, and one former metamour. Just told them what’s happening and asking them to send me messages of encouragement and support in the coming week. They all responded positively, and many said to call or text anytime.

It occurs to me: Friendship is the basis of any relationship I care to have. It’s the foundation of my chosen family — which is defined more by emotional presence and active connection than roles. While I’m currently very emotionally intimate with my fairly new lover, he is but one of many amazing friends in my life.

And for dealing with grief/loss I prefer to reach out widely, to my broader network of deep connections, to savor the uniqueness and vitality of each person and what they freely offer me when I’m in need.

As I wait to board the week’s first flight, I think: Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

My network of friends/loves is my greatest wealth. It’s what keeps me grounded, too.

I think a big benefit of being solo poly is that I’m less tempted to reflexively overvalue or discount any relationship I’ve chosen and nurtured simply because it involves sex/romance, cohabitation, or has existed longer.

Not enough people ask for emotional support when they need it, let alone proactively in times of need. But I’ve learned it’s a valuable life skill. As is nurturing a diverse, robust support network — whether you’re solo, poly or not.

How do you nurture your own support network/family of choice? How do you call on them when you’re in need? And how do you make sure you keep an ear available for their calls?

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3 thoughts on “Family of choice and solo polyamory: Why it rocks, in times of need

  1. Sentou Ryu says:

    I share my feelings with the world actually. I don’t have a tight cadre of friends to drawer on so fb provides the outlet for my need to connect. There are some I can always count on for support and often I find there are one or two I’d have never thought would be there but because they relate so strongly to what I’m expressing they share themselves in support. This always offers some insights I may have not considered or too quickly dismissed.

  2. I love that you not ask for support, but get it from relationships in the past. I do not understand people that get nasty when an intimate relationship ends, or will no longer continue towards a friendship. There is so much common ground while being intimate and that common ground still tends to exist.
    Sorry for the loss, hope you are providing support as much as you are being supported.

  3. Harper Eliot says:

    I am truly terrible at asking for support, but the way you describe just reaching out, informing and requesting moments in their thoughts just about sounds possible…
    I hope this week isn’t too terrible for you, and that you come through it with all the support you need.

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